GARDEN CITY – Growing cover crops as a way to protect and improve soil health is new to some High Plains farmers, but Jeff Rasawehr has been doing it for years.

Rasawehr, of Celina, Ohio, and co-founder of Cover Crop Ranch, will present “Making a Cover Crop Your Most Valued Crop” at the Western Kansas Forage Conference on Feb. 20.

Sponsored by K-State Research and Extension and the Kansas Forage and Grassland Council, the conference will be at the J.A. Haas Building, 400 E. 18th St. in Larned. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., with the program from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cover Crop Ranch is a network of farms in Michigan and Ohio using sustainable farming practices of no-till, cover crops and a system called mob grazing to produce meat. Mob grazing involves moving cattle at least daily between small enclosures and split by electric fences. The plants in the enclosure are eaten, walked on and trampled, then allowed to rest for 60-120 days or more.

Rasawehr will share his knowledge and experience in using cover crops and making them valuable in a crop production system.

“It is always good to hear from someone who is actually doing it and having success with it,” said A.J. Foster, area agronomist with the K-State Southwest Research and Extension Center, regarding Rasawehr’s experience growing cover crops. “We can always learn to improve our own system.”

Other conference speakers and topics include:

• Soil Management with Cover Crops – DeAnn Presley, K-State soil management specialist

• What Are We Learning from Integrating a Cover Crop into our Production Practice? – Dale Younker, U.S. Department of Agriculture soil health specialist

• Pasture Weed Management – Walt Fick, K-State range scientist

• Kansas Forage and Grassland Council Update – Mark Jensen, KSFGC board member

• Animal Health Concerns When Grazing Cover Crops – Jaymelynn Farney, K-State animal scientist

• Pasture Risk Insurance – Monte Vandeveer, K-State agricultural economist

• Producer Panel

Registration is requested by Feb. 10. Lunch is included in the registration fee, which is $25 for KSFGC members and $55 for non-members. Online registration and more information are available at www.southwest.ksu.edu. More information is available by contacting Foster at 620-276-8286 or anserdj@ksu.edu.

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